Billionaire businessman Andrej Babis, whose ANO party is likely to win the October general election in the Czech Republic, says keeping the koruna would insulate the country from crisis.
“No euro. I don’t want the euro. We don’t want the euro here,” Babis said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“Everybody knows it’s bankrupt. It’s about our sovereignty. I want the Czech koruna and an independent central bank. I don’t want another issue that Brussels would be meddling with,” he added.
A 2016 Eurobarometer survey showed that 72 percent of Czechs want to keep the koruna. The Czech currency has gained more than 20 percent against the euro since the republic became an EU member in 2004.
Czech public opinion about the euro has significantly deteriorated since joining the bloc. In 2009, 61 percent of people in the country wanted the euro. However, the euro crisis has made them change their views.
The Czech Republic meets three of five conditions for joining the eurozone as of summer last year. The country is not a member of the European exchange rate mechanism, and its domestic legislation is incompatible with European criteria.
Selected chain stores in the country accept payments in euro and return change in local currency.
Babis claims he supported Emmanuel Macron’s bid to enter the French elections. But unlike the new French president, the Czech tycoon is against further European integration.
“The biggest added value of the European Union is the national identity of each country,” Babis told Bloomberg. “A strong Europe thanks to strong states – that’s logical, no?”
“We have to fight for what our ancestors built here,” Babis said. “If there will be more Muslims than Belgians in Brussels, that’s their problem. I don’t want that here. They won’t be telling us who should live here,” he added.